Doctoral project funding opportunities

Find out about project funding opportunities available in New Zealand and overseas.


Source Attribution Models | PhD scholarship

PhD scholarship with The School of Fundamental Sciences

Source attribution models for whole genome sequencing data

Source attribution is the process of assigning cases of human disease to their most likely origin. For diseases that are largely foodborne, such as campylobacteriosis, the origins are typically food, water, or environmental reservoirs. With such diseases there is typically little epidemiological information to allow cases to be attributed to source, however genomic differentiation of the pathogens involved allows such assignment, as the genetic diversity of the pathogens tend to be species-specific.

Most of the current state of the art models for attribution use relatively low resolution genomic data - typically sequences are differentiated using a handful of genes, such as the Multi-locus sequence typing scheme for Campylobacter. Such schemes offer good differentiation of major source groups (e.g. Poultry versus Ruminant sources) but have less discriminatory power for detecting differences within source groups (e.g. between Cattle and Sheep).

Sequencing the entire genome of pathogens has now become more practical and economical. The higher resolution offered by whole genome sequencing may assist in differentiating such sources, however existing statistical models are not well suited to take advantage of the additional resolution.

The proposed PhD programme would be focused on the development of statistical models for source attribution using whole genome sequence data, and would be suited to a statistical or genomics student with good mathematics and computing skills and an interest in Bayesian modelling and public health.

This scholarship for full-time students and includes a tax-free stipend of NZ$25,000 annually for up to three years and the payment of PhD fees.

Applicants should provide their CV and a concise statement (maximum of 500 words on one A4 page) stating why they should be the successful candidate for this opportunity to Dr Jonathan Marshall. Email:


'Adaptive Brain Computer Interface' | PhD scholarship

PhD scholarship with the School of Fundamental Sciences

The PhD research will be part of the project on ‘Adaptive Brain Computer Interface’ jointly supervised by Prof. Hans Guegen and Dr. Sunil Lal.

The scholarship covers all tuition fees for full-time international and domestic students and includes a tax-free stipend of NZ$25,000 annually for up to three years.

Applicants should have or expect to receive a BSc(Hons) or MSc or equivalent in Computer Science. Previous graduate-level studies in machine learning or brain computer interface is highly desirable. To be eligible for this scholarship you must fulfill the entry requirements for a PhD at Massey University.

Applications including a CV, academic transcript, and cover letter discussing your motivation and suitability should be sent to Dr. Sunil Lal, School of Fundamental Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, 4410, New Zealand, or by email to

The application deadline is March 21, 2019.

Theoretical Chemistry/Physics | PhD scholarship

PhD scholarship with the Institute for Advanced Study

The Institute for Advanced Study at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, is looking for an excellent student with a Master of Science in Computational/Theoretical Physics or Chemistry to work on a Marsden funded research project (17-MAU-021) on superheavy element chemistry and physics.

The person is required to have excellent knowledge in either theoretical chemistry or physics. The project is in collaboration with Prof. Witek Nazarewicz from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University, USA.

The scholarship remains open until filled and comes with a scholarship to support for living expenses ($27,500 per annum) and tuition fees. Candidates are given the opportunity to obtain a PhD degree from Massey University. The duration of this scholarship is three years with the possibility of an extension. To be eligible for this scholarship you must fulfill the entry requirements for a PhD at Massey University.

Expressions of interest should contain the following information:

  • A one-page summary justifying the applicant’s suitability for the role
  • An academic CV
  • Two letters of reference
  • Transcript of qualifying degree

Please send expressions of interest and enquiries to Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger at

For more information about our research center or Massey University see the websites at and For more information about nuclear physics group of Prof. Nazarewicz, go to

College of Health | 'We the village'

'We the village' - Timebanking as a model for equitable and sustainable postpartum support

A PhD scholarship is available to test a concept in cooperation with Timebank Wellington for reducing the isolation faced by many new parents and promoting positive postpartum mental health. Local exchange trading systems (LETS) are locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprises holding promise for reducing poverty alongside enhancing social capital. A LETS provides a community information service and records transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using locally created currency. Timebanking is a type of LETS, which uses time as the currency for exchanging skills and knowledge. Members can exchange any range of skills they have and gain time credits. 'We the Village' will be a platform through which family help can be offered and requested using a time bank model with no monetary component.

'We the Village' will work with pregnant couples to gain Timebank credits throughout their pregnancy. Some Timebank credits will be gained through helping other families in the postpartum period, and in turn, they will then be able to receive help in the early days with their newborn. These parents will be part of an on-going support network of parents and other community members, such as older people. Broader aims of this project include: enabling pregnant couples to gain some experience in newborn care before their baby is born through helping other families; enhance infant feeding support, elevate the wellbeing of older people who have time and skills to share and would like to contribute in this way to their community; and foster ongoing community connections.

The recruited student will work with a project manager on implementing and evaluating this project. The concept will be promoted through Wellington Timebank for other individuals, such as the elderly or other parent members, to support families with babies. Ideally, the student will have some experience in practice and possess good interpersonal skills.

Amount awarded

The scholarship includes a stipend of $25,000 per annum for a maximum period of three years (fees not included).


Students must be prepared to be enrolled at Massey University by 1 August 2018.

Students will have a bachelor's degree with appropriate honours or master's degree in a relevant field, such as Public Health, Psychology, Health Promotion. A minimum GPA of 7.5 (above an average of A-) is required. The candidate will also be required to reside in Wellington for the duration of the project.

Selection criteria: academic record; interest and enthusiasm for topic; good written and oral communications skills; experience in running participatory and collaborative projects desirable, but not essential.


Primary supervisor: Dr Mat Walton, School of Health Sciences
Secondary supervisor: Dr Eva Neely, School of Health Sciences

How to apply

Applicants should send a copy of their curriculum vitae, a statement of interest and the names and contact details of referees to:

Eva Neely
Phone: 04 801 5799 ext 63371


Hemholtz resonance to measurement of degree-of-fill in topdressing aircraft hoppers

Fixed wing aircraft are widely used to apply a variety of granular fertilizers, both in pastoral and cropping agriculture. The fertilizer is contained in a wedge-shaped hopper built into the fuselage of the aircraft; loading is via a hatch at the top and discharge is controlled by a clamshell mechanism at the hopper exit. Knowledge of hopper fill is important in normal operation as in principle it provides real time data on application rate. Hopper fill level is also critical to decision making in situations demanding unplanned or evasive manoeuvres following mechanical failure or human error in navigating risky terrain.

The resonant frequency of a hard body cavity obeys is a simple function of the cavity volume. An object placed in the cavity, in this case the particulate fertilizer, changes the volume and hence the resonant frequency. Thus, in principle, measurement of the resonant frequency is a potential route to determination of fill level. There are however several technical challenges arising from the particulate nature of the fill material, and the working environment, a propeller-driven aircraft.

The successful candidate will likely have a background in physics or engineering and will provide evidence of well-developed mathematical skills and practical ability.


The project will be carried out with an industrial partner (Ravensdown) and a stipend is offered for a duration of 3 years.


Applicants should provide their CV and a concise statement (maximum of 500 words on one A4 page, submitted both as a Microsoft Word document and PDF) stating why they should be the successful candidate for this opportunity to:

Professor Clive Davies
School of Engineering and Advanced Technology

Dr Miles Grafton
Soil and Earth Sciences | School of Agriculture and Environment


School of Engineering and Advanced Technology

The School of Engineering and Advanced Technology (SEAT) has four Massey doctoral scholarships to award each year. These are very competitive scholarships that are worth $25,000 a year for three years, to cover fees and living expenses. 

Given the very small number of scholarships SEAT will place emphasis on three criteria: 

  • the academic merit of the student; the University rules require a GPA of at least 7.5 out of 9 (A-) based on their last two years of study, together with research experience
  • the development of staff research experience, including having early career staff as co-supervisors
  • the fit of the proposed research with the strategic directions of Massey and SEAT (and therefore this is a good thing to comment on in the relevant sections of the form)

Please ensure that these criteria are addressed in the application.

How to apply

Applications need to be made in collaboration between supervisors and student. Initial applications should be on the Massey University form.  

Please send the form to Karen Pickering

The deadline for applications each year is November.

Veterinary Pathology

Masterate Scholarship in Veterinary Pathology

The purpose of this School of Veterinary Science Masterate Scholarship is to encourage veterinary graduates who plan a career in veterinary diagnostic pathology to undertake university postgraduate study in this field. The Scholar will be expected to develop expertise in the diagnosis of animal diseases in preparation for seeking specialist qualifications in pathology, and to gain experience in tertiary education by providing laboratory and lecture instruction in veterinary diagnostic pathology.  

Amount awarded

The value of the scholarship will be $30,000 per annum (tax free) for two years. In addition to the emolument, the scholarship shall cover tuition fees for an MVSc or MVS. The scholarship shall be tenable at Massey University, Palmerston North.


The scholarship is open to students who hold a BVSc degree able to be registered in New Zealand and who qualify to register as a candidate for the degree of Master of Veterinary Studies (MVS). The scholar will be expected to participate in the routine necropsy service provided by IVABS Pathobiology Section, which includes a range of domestic and wildlife animal species. In addition, the scholar will be required to conduct a research project under the supervision of an IVABS pathologist. The academic programme will be directed towards preparing for American College of Veterinary Pathologists Board Certification. Candidates must be New Zealand or Australian citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand or Australia.

How to apply

Every person who wants to be considered for the School of Veterinary Science Scholarship should apply on the application form provided by the School (obtained from or Massey Contact, email:

Informal enquiries can be addressed to John Munday ( phone: 06 356 9099 ext 85172

New Zealand

Biomedical - tackling cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases

Biomedical - Tackling cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases

Research opportunities with the Maurice Wilkins Centre (MWC), Centre of Research Excellence

Bringing together world leading biomedical researchers from around New Zealand to tackle cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases.

One of our major roles is to train the country's next generation of leaders in biomedical research. The projects involve highly innovative biomedical research and are based at one of the following institutions:

  • Otago University
  • Massey University
  • The University of Auckland
  • The University of Waikato
  • University of Canterbury
  • Victoria University

Uniquely with these scholarships, you will also be eligible to spend time in other leading laboratories and training centres outside your home base, including overseas, and to access advanced equipment and facilities that can accelerate your research, wherever in NZ those facilities are based. Becoming part of the MWC brings the opportunity to interact with world-leading scientists right across the country, as well as their international collaborators.

How to apply

Before you contact MWC to express your interest, follow the steps below.

  1. Have a look at the available projects listed on the MWC website.
  2. Download the expression of interest form 
  3. Complete the form and send as a PDF file, along with your current CV, academic transcript and names of any referees, if requested.
  4. Email your expression of interest to or to the project lead supervisor.

Eligibility criteria

You must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and have either an exceptional academic track record or have a proven track record of research productivity. If you have any doubts about your eligibility, you can phone MWC on 09 923 5533.

Minimising Gambling Harm

Minimising gambling harm

The Health Research Council (HRC) is administering the Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm Career Development Awards, which are funded by the Ministry of Health.

Applicants are invited to apply for master's, PhD and postdoctoral awards to support the career development of emerging health researchers seeking to prevent and minimise gambling-related harm for Māori and Pacific populations in New Zealand.

Applicants will apply using the standard HRC Māori or Pacific career development forms, which will be available on the HRC's website.

Award components: Stipend of $10,000; course fees up to $10,000;
Working expenses of $1,600
Term of award: 1 year
Number of awards available: 1

Award components: Stipend and working expenses up to a total of $410,000
Term of award: 4 years
Number of awards available: 1


Australia | Bushfire and Natural Hazard Cooperative Research Centre - two PhD studentships

Fire and Emergency New Zealand is pleased to be working with the Bushfire and Natural Hazard Cooperative Research Centre in Australia to offer two PhD studentships. These studentships will cover:

  • Priority research area one - Understanding the need for, availability of, and interpretation of information by the public during large scale hazard events (e.g. wildfires, floods, earthquakes).
  • Priority research area two - Building community engagement to support behaviour change, leading to improved fire safety and community resilience.

Students awarded a scholarship are required to enrol for study through a New Zealand university, and they will be linked into related research from the CRC's core research program. Applications that include co-supervision with leading researchers from Australia will be highly regarded. The CRC can assist in identifying co-supervisors. Students receiving a scholarship are expected to engage regularly with an industry supervisor based in FENZ to build their knowledge of how their research will be utilised, to gain an appreciation of how to present research information to less research-aware communities and to expand their personal networks.

Successful scholarship holders will receive NZ$28,500 per year for up to 3.5 years under the scholarship program. All scholarships will be paid to, and managed by, the university in which the student is enrolled.

For further information please see

Applications close: 31 August 2018

Australia - Marine Biotechnology

Marine Biotechnology

Deakin University - Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Jointly funded by Deakin University and Plant and Food Research, Nelson, NZ.

Supervisors: Professor Colin Barrow, Chair in Biotechnology, Deakin University and Dr. Sue Marshall, Plant and Food Research.

At least one PhD scholarship is to be awarded to carry out a joint project with Deakin University in Geelong, Australia and Plant and Food Research, New Zealand. The scholarship of A$25,000 per annum will be awarded to a student graduating with a first-class honours degree in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, or a related field. Applicants should be Australian citizens or permanent residents, or New Zealand citizens.

The project involves the discovery and development of new lipases for enzymatic concentration of omega-3 fatty acids from fish and microbial oils. These lipases will have application in functional foods and pharmaceuticals. Specifically, the project will have three parts. Firstly, the student will mine published and proprietary genomic databases to identify potentially useful lipases that will then be cloned and tested. Secondly, the student will isolate and test new lipases from fish and microbes. Thirdly, the student will take part in the development of novel immobilization technologies that will enable the new lipases to be used in a commercial setting.

The successful applicant will be expected to spend most of their time at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, but may spend up to one year in Nelson, New Zealand. Applicants are encouraged to apply for Australian Postgraduate Awards (APAs) and Deakin University Postgraduate Research Scholarships (DUPRS).


Interested candidates please forward your CV and expression of interest to Professor Colin Barrow or Dr Susan Marshall

France - Eiffel Doctoral Scholarships for New Zealand students

Eiffel Doctoral Scholarships for New Zealand students - France

These scholarships are offered by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to international students for doctoral studies in France. Since 2006, one of these scholarships per year has been offered to a New Zealand student. 

For further details visit:

Germany - Environmental Governance & Forest Ecology & Management

Environmental Governance and Forest Ecology and Management - Germany

Environmental Governance (MEG) and Forest Ecology and Management (FEM) International MSC Programmes at Freiburg University, Germany.

The MSc course 'Environmental Governance' focuses on socio-economic issues, whereas 'Forest Ecology and Management' concentrates on ecological aspects. Both courses are taught entirely in English and have a duration of two years.

For further information visit: and

Saudi Arabia - Undergraduate Scholarships for New Zealanders

Undergraduate scholarships for New Zealand students - Saudi Arabia

A limited number of scholarships are available for New Zealand students wanting to study in Saudi Arabia.

Two types of scholarships are available:

  • Muslim and Non-Muslim Students 1-2 Scholarships per year at King Saud Maile University
  • Muslim Students 2-3 Scholarships per year at Islamic Male University of Medina.


Students must be:

  • between 18 to-25 years old and hold a valid NZ passport
  • required to undertake Arabic Language studies for two years.

After completion of language training, the scholarship holder may study undergraduate programmes at any Faculty (except medicine or engineering).

The Scholarship provides:

  • free tuition
  • free text books in Arabic language
  • single person accommodation
  • monthly stipend of NZ$400 per month
  • subsidised meals from University cafeteria
  • medical expenses
  • annual return air ticket.

Further information

You can contact:

Tony Davies
NZ Education Attache to the GCC, NZ Embassy, Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh

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